Setting Up A Model Engineering Workshop In Thailand – Buying A Lathe In Bangkok

How I Found A Machine Tool Shop In Bangkok, Thailand,  And Bought A Lathe, A Milling And Drilling Machine For My Model Engineering Workshop

Date: 3rd January, 2012

The centre-piece of any model engineering workshop is the lathe. It is the lathe that everything revolves around.

The lathe is so versatile a machine that almost all machining processes required when making models of machines of all types can be completed on it.

The lathe can do turning, drilling, boring and milling. No model engineering workshop can exist without the lathe.

Where Can You Buy A Lathe In Thailand?

Since a lathe is central to the model engineering workshop and I was setting up my model engineering workshop at my retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, I needed to buy a lathe.

Since I was still in the U.K. And not in Thailand, I looked on the Internet and found a couple of websites in Thailand offering lathes and other machine tools for sale.

Here are the websites I came across:-

thaimachinetools.com

machinethai.com

None of these websites seemed to have what I wanted – a small lathe suitable for a model engineering workshop.

It was a friend of mine, Phil, who I met through this website who put me on to another website allarm.co.th

 

Image of AllArm Company Ltd. Bangkok, Thailand Website - http://allarm.co.th

AllArm Company Ltd. Bangkok, Thailand Website - http://allarm.co.th

It was just before Christmas 2011 when Phil, who lives in Bangkok agreed to me up with me at the AllArm Company Ltd., showroom in Bangkok.

Phil had already been in touch with the company by email and had received answers to some of his questions from a person called Sam.

We arranged to meet at the AllArm Company Ltd., showroom in Bangkok, after the Thai new year and on 3rd January 2012 in fact.

Prior to the trip to Bangkok I bought a brand new Garmin nüvi® 2565 Sat Nav for the car. I don’t know my way around Bangkok, neither does my Thai wife Kanyah – in fact she’s scared of the place it’s such a huge city and the roads are horrendously complicated.

So I bought the Sat Nav and tried to find the AllArm Company Ltd., showroom first on the Internet using Google maps and the then on the sat nav.

In theory it’s dead easy.

In fact it was very difficult and almost a nightmare.

Lets start with the address of the AllArm Company Ltd., as taken from their website, first in the English language:-

All Arm Co., Ltd.
Head Office : 93 Soi Senanikom 1 (Phaholyothin 32) Senanikom , Phaholyothin Rd., Chatuchak , Bangkok 10900 Thailand.

Showroom : 100/7-10 Soi Senanikom1 (Phaholyothin 32) , Phaholyothin Rd., Senanikom , Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 Thailand.

Phone (Sales & Service) : +662-9415657, 9415577
(Technical) : +662-941 8707
Fax : +662-9415577, +662-5790689
Website : www.allarm.co.th
E-mail : allarm@hotmail.com

The AllArm Co website has an English language and a Thai language version. Here is the address in Thai from the Thai language version of the website:-

Image of Address of the Thai AllArm Co Lathe Shop Thai

Address of the Thai AllArm Co Lathe Shop Thai

Also on the website are a couple of maps. The first is a Google Maps, map:-

Image of All Arm Location Map From allarm.co.th Website

All Arm Location Map From allarm.co.th Website

Next there is a simplified map showing the location of the lathe shop in Bangkok:-

Image of Local Simplified Map AllArm Co Lathe Shop Bangkok

Simplified Local Map AllArm Co Lathe Shop Bangkok

So armed with the address, Google Maps and the Garmin Nuvi2565 Sat Nav I set about planning our trip to the AllArm Company showroom.

Using Google Maps and the address of the AllArm Co lathe showroom from the website I steadily homed in on the location.

In the sequence of screenshots from Google maps below, you can see how I located the lathe showroom:-

1) Found Chatuchak, about halfway between Don Mueng airport and Din Daeng

2) Found “soi Phaholyothin bangkok”

3) Found Thanon Senanikom (Spelt Sana Nikhom” on Google maps)

4) Zoom in on Thanon Senanikom – just south of Bang Khen Market

5) Satellite view of Thanon Senanikom

NOTE: To see the images in full-screen size click on the “Fullscreen” icon at the bottom right of the viewer.

Using the Garmin nüvi® 2565 Sat Nav

I bought the Garmin nüvi® 2565 Sat Nav in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand and it cost me just under 20,000 Baht. Not at all cheap but I wanted the best.

Image of Garmin Nuvi 2565 Sat Nav

Garmin Nuvi 2565 Sat Nav

I tried it out a few times around Pakchong (Pak Chong) before the Bangkok trip to buy the mode engineering lathe and whilst it worked fine there was one big drawback with it.

You can’t enter Postcodes into the Garmin nüvi® 2565 Sat Nav in Thailand.

You can enter roads, but usually it won’t be able to find them. it will accept place names, but that’s not very useful.

So if you have been somewhere and saved it in favourites you’ll be able to find it again, but to find a new place it’s not perfect.

Anyway, here is my experience trying to find the AllArm lathe shop in Bangkok.

The closest road to Soi Senanikom I could find in the Sat Nav was Thanaon Ratchadaphisek.

Then it gave me a list of junctions to choose and I selected one (can’t remember which).

Off we went to Bangkok in the Toyota Hilux Vigo Pickup we had bought a couple of years earlier in Bangkok, at 08 AM in the morning. We had arranged to meet Phil outside the lathe shop at 10AM.

The Sat Nav took us to our destination (a junction on Thanaon Ratchadaphisek), then we stopped.

I phoned Phil who had found the lathe shop. Phil couldn’t help us and he said the shop was empty – nobody in. He said it looked like the shop was closed. “you may be only a mile away” Phil said, “but around here you may as well be ten miles away”. Phil was right.

Eventually he found someone who could speak Thai and English and he got on the phone to my wife. We then spent a good half an hour going round in circles trying to find the place with the Sat Nav but got nowhere, Kanyah just got hot and bad tempered.

Then – to cut a long story short – I got out the print-out of the Google Maps and the map from the website and Kanyah hired a taxi to take us to the place. We followed the taxi and with the taxi driver talking to the guy in the lathe shop we met up with Phil outside the lathe shop.

The All Arm Company, Bangkok, Thailand Lathe Shop Experience

I arrived at the lathe shop, met Phil and was excited by all the machine tools I could see in the window.

I started to push the door open to go in and then a Thai guy called me from the street. He was quite abrupt and told us in clear English not to go in but to follow him to the Showroom.

Phil hopped into our car and we followed the Thai guy to the showroom. Phil explained that the guy was in a bad temper and quite pushy to sell Phil a lathe.

The journey to the “Showroom” took about 10 minutes down some back-streets. There wasn’t a hope in hell that we would ever have found it from the maps and address on the website!

Anyway at the website the Thai guy lost no time in telling us that it was a holiday and the shop was closed. We had dragged him in to work on his holiday. Also he had called in two workers who were also on holiday. Hence his bad mood.

Anyway, inside the “Showroom” there were tons of machine tools – mostly covered with plastic sheets.

Image of General View Inside The AllArm Machine Tool Shop Bangkok, Thailand

General View Inside The AllArm Machine Tool Shop Bangkok, Thailand

Above, a general view of the AllArm machine tool Company “Showroom”. Not quite what I was expecting!

The Thai guy turned out to be “Sam”, the person Phil had been exchanging emails with. I think he was Chinese Thai.

Sam clearly knew his stuff and it transpired that he had spent a lot of time living in the USA. Hence his English was fluent.

Image of Machine Tools Covered In Plastic And A Small Lathe

Machine Tools Covered In Plastic And A Small Lathe

Another view of the AllArm showroom. Those machines under plastic sheets are sheet metal presses for bending sheet metal. In the foreground you can see a model engineering lathe lathe on a cabinet stand.

Below is a close-up photo of the model engineering lathe. This type of lathe is made in China and is on sale throughout the world. It’s generic name is the BV-20 – BV20L lathe and many companies selling it re-badge it with their own name and nameplate.

Image of BV-20/BV20L Lathe At AllArm Machine Tool Showroom in Bangkok

BV-20/BV20L Lathe At AllArm Machine Tool Showroom in Bangkok

We (Phil, myself and Sam) talked about this lathe for a while. Although this particular one was not for sale, it was from a customer and was undergoing repairs, Sam had brand new machines in crates.

Sam wanted 40,000 Baht for a new machine, which I thought was a below average worldwide price.

I was interested in that but it didn’t have a slotted cross-slide useful in a model engineer’s lathe to undertake various milling and boring operations. Also in response to my question, Sam said that it did not come with a four-jaw chuck and other accessories.

“This lathe comes with a four jaw chuck and a lot of accessories”, said Sam leading the way to the back of the showroom.

There I saw a “combination lathe” which is a lathe/milling-drilling machine of the type I had seen for sale back in the U.K. I didn’t take a photo of it, I was too wrapped up in what was going on, but here is a photo of it from the AllArm Co website:-

Image of the HQ500 Combination Lathe /Milling Machine from AllArmCo in Bangkok

HQ500 Combination Lathe /Milling Machine from AllArmCo in Bangkok

Sam priced this lathe/milling machine at 70,000 Baht, it came with a four-jaw chuck and other accessories. I thought that was a ‘fair’ price compared to what I was expecting but I didn’t have any price available at the time to do a comparison. (See below for price comparison I did later)

As soon as I saw the machine I knew that I wanted it. It was big – I was fed up with my tiny lathe back in the UK and in Thailand I wanted to build big models – and having the milling/drilling capability would save me the cost of buying separate milling and drilling machines.

Kanyah was dead against me buying this machine and went into a sulk. Also she wanted to get a discount and offered 50,000 Baht, but Sam stood his ground. Eventually he threw in a tool cabinet and the deal was settled at 70,000 Baht.

The machine was loaded onto the Toyota Hilux Vigo Pickup with a fork-lift truck. I had no idea how we would unload it back at our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong). The machine weighed some 300 kg in the packing case!

Image of My Model Engineering Lathe Loaded On The Toyota Pickup

My Model Engineering Lathe Loaded On The Toyota Pickup

Snooping round the showroom while Sam was away I took a few pictures, seen below.

Image of AllArm Machine Tool Shop Bangkok Pillar drills

Some Pillar Drills On Show

There were tons of other expensive machine tools including CNC lathes etc some of which were worth millions on Baht, but I didn’t have chance to take many photos.

Image of AllArm Machine Tool Shop Bangkok Old Drilling Machines

Some Ancient Drilling Machines

Combination Lathe Price Comparison

Everyone seems to want to compare prices between their own contry and Thailand’s prices.

For the lathe I bought, after I returned to base I made this comparison:.

Here is a similar lathe from a U.K. supplier’s website:-

Image of Similar Lathe To The One I Bought In Bangkok, Thailand

Similar Lathe To The One I Bought In Bangkok, Thailand

Here is a cost comparison with the lathe I bought in Thailand:-

UK Lathe at >> http://www.chesteruk.net/products/Product.aspx?productID=11 Price Currency
Basic 965 £ (GBP)
Options (Say)
These are items I received with my lathe in Thailand
Travelling Steady 75
Fixed Steady 75
125mm 4 Jaw Independent Chuck 75
Stand c/w Tray 50
125mm 4 Jaw Back Plate 15
Sub Total 1,255
VAT (20%) 251
Total 1,506 £ (GBP)
Conversion to Thai Baht 49
Total Thai Baht 73,794 Baht



Price I paid in Thailand 70,000 Baht

Klongthom Market, Bangkok, Where You Can Buy Small Tools And Accessories For Your Lathe

I asked Sam at AllArm Co where I could buy in Thailand all the small tools and accessories that you need in a model engineering workshop. I was thinking of measuring tools, like rules, digital calipers, height gauges, dial test indicators as well as cutting tools like drills taps, dies and reamers etc.

“Go to Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok. Take the train to the MRT Station – Hua Campong (end) and walk from there he said.”

Image of Map of Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

Map of Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

 

Image of Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

Klongthom Market, Near Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

 

Coming Next Setting Up The Lathe In The Model Engineering Workshop In The Retirement House At Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

See how many people it took to lift the lathe off the pickup, how I built the lathe stand and how the lathe was fixed to the stand. The manufacturer’s mehod didn;t work.

See the workshop complete with lathe, steel workbench and tool shelving.


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7 Responses to “Model Engineers Workshop In Thailand – Buying A Lathe”

  • Lyle Mead:

    In your searching for a metal lathe, did you happen to see any woodturning lathes?  I just moved to Thailand, (up in Chiang Mai) and will be looking for one soon.

    thanks,

    Lyle 

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Lyle and thanks for the question.

    The short answer is no, I didn’t come across any wood turning lathes. I was only looking for metal working lathes suitable for making steam models in my model engineering workshop.

    What I would do is to try to figure out what industry makes turned wooden parts in Thailand and then go to their factories and ask where they go their lathes.

    That’s what I did when I was looking for a work bench. I knew the factory that made our stainless steel gate had steel cutting, bending and welding machines so I visited the factoruy and asked where they bought them. Then I was put on to the Ying Ja Leum harward and tool store and steel stockholder.

    If you can’t find a wood working lathe to buy, it should not be too difficult to make one or have one made for you. I would make sure I ttok a photograph of what kind of wood turning lathe I wanted with me, to show to the Thais.

    Hope that helps and

    Best Regards

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Mike Murray:

    Hello Alan,

    Thank you so very much for posting the information on where to buy lathes and mills in Thailand.  Like you I will soon be retiring to Thailand and until I read your above article, I was planning to ship my benchtop lathe, milling machine, and all my various hand tools from the US to Thailand, at an estamated cost of $7K to $8K.  Now that I know where to purchase new equipment once I’m in the LOS, I will ship only a pallet’s worth of hand tools and other items which most likely will SAVE me at least $6000 (US). :-)

    BTW, did you by chance ask Sam or Phill or any of the machine shops, if they could order a lathe or mill for you?  Here in the US, if a dealer dosent have an item the customer wants, they’re typically happy to order it, and let you know when it’s available for pick-up.

    Again, thanks for this write-up, it’s made a differance for me :-)

    Mike

    [Reply]

  • tony:

    Hi Alan,
    I found your site via google may bey it’s a good idea to exchange some info where to get materiel steel or alu bar etc.I bought my lathe an older version of your 500 without feed , near the bus station to the south in bangkok.
    I ‘am a dutch living in the desert of the north-east, so not very much to get here.
    My interests are on the first place hot air engines but steam has my love too.
    If you like I can send you pictures of my experimental manson lineair engines.
    cheers tony.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Tony and great to hear from you.

    Any idea what you were searching for on Google? Such info would help me to understand how people find the website and I can then fine-tune to find more like-minded people.

    Here in Pakchong I can get any material virtually except heavy section aluminium.

    Steel (many sections but not much small BMS), stainless steel, brass, bronze, cast iron and even plastic rod such as used for bearings.

    Also there is a ‘factory’in town (Pakchong) where I can get virtually anything made if outside the capacity of my workshop machines. Examples that I’m looking to outsource now are the rolled steel wheel rims for my half-size Little Samson traction engine project and possibly plasma cutting the gears for the same project.

    I’m surprised there are no materials available in the North East. (Is that Isan?).

    These remote farming areas are used to fixing farm machinery rather than paying to have it fixed/replaced and to do that they need the machining facilities and the materials.

    My universal lathe/milling machine is now sold on to another website visitor since I bought my big lathe and big milling machine and also imported my complete model engineering wotkshop from the UK.

    The ModelEngineeringInThailand.com website.

    From your comment I’m guessing that you havn’t been to the ModelEngineeringInThailand.com which has several sections that may appeal to tyou.

    One is a Resources And Suppliers Of Model Engineering Tools And Equipment In And To Thailand section where details of suppliers of materials and tools etc are posted. Very useful!

    The other is the “Guests Models etc” section where Guest’s models etc are on display.

    This is where I would post the photo of your pictures of my experimental manson lineair engines. So yest please – please send them!

    Again, thank you for your comment and please visit the ModelEngineeringInThailand.com website and send the hot air photos.

    [Reply]

  • tony:

    Thanks for the reply, okay Alan I will do, give me some time.
    Tony.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Sure, Tony and thank you the reply.

    Best Regards

    Alan

    [Reply]

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